Source:

Sämtliche schriften und briefe series VI volume 4
Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften (ed)
p 2717



Date: November 1677

Translated from the Latin



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LEIBNIZ: ON SPIRITUAL EXERCISES


[A VI 4, p2717]

     The basic rule of those who prescribe spiritual exercises is that as far as possible one should abstain from contemplation, that is, from contemplation that is remote from practice. But I explain it in another way, for as practical contemplations are nothing other than spiritual exercises, if one were to abstain from all contemplation one would also abstain from spiritual exercise. But, you will say, a spiritual exercise can be an exercise of the will without an exercise of the understanding. My response is that it is more correct to say that the will is aroused by the understanding of good and evil, that is, by the practical understanding. Therefore, spiritual exercises are practical contemplations on sacred things. By spiritual exercises I mean those things that happen in solitude and not the exercises of charity, justice, etc. towards one's neighbour.


© Lloyd Strickland 2018